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Fast food giant discriminates against the blind.

Fast food giant discriminates against the blind.

Beaumont Costales announces that a motion to certify the class has been filed against McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) on behalf of Scott Magee and all others similarly situated in the case captioned Magee v. McDonald’s Corp., et al, No. 16-5652.  The lawsuit, originally filed in May 2016 in federal court in Chicago, charges that those McDonald’s restaurants only open through the drive-thru are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act because they only offer service to customers in cars.  Because Magee and the visually impaired are unable to drive, and because McDonald’s drive-thru only restaurants lock their lobby doors, Magee’s lawsuit claims that McDonald’s is breaking the law.

Magee’s motion to certify the class is a potential turning point in the case. If the court finds that class certification is appropriate, then McDonald’s will potentially be liable for all 12,000 of their franchised locations—not just the three that Magee visited. When class actions become certified, it means that the single plaintiff’s case becomes representative of the other class members’ claims. So, in this case, if Magee wins his motion, a loss at trial for McDonald’s will mean that they are liable to the million-plus blind Americans at all McDonald’s locations in the United States. This could mean that every local McDonald’s policy of remaining open only through the drive-thru during late-night hours may be required to change its policies as the result of Magee’s case.

The motion to certify also puts forward a fairly common-sense solution: let the blind call the restaurant and place an order over the telephone. According to Magee’s motion, the blind can easily be given personal “passcodes” that allow them to identify themselves when they call a special number designed specifically for the blind to place food orders. This will prevent random callers or the non-disabled from taking advantage of the service. One the order is placed, the blind customer can present to the restaurant, and authenticate themselves using their passcode again. Then, McDonald’s personnel can simply carry the food out to them.

Customers with visual and other disabilities who have been denied service at McDonald’s drive-thru windows as a result of their being unable to drive and who wish to be added to the plaintiff list may contact Beaumont Costales at 773-831-8000.


Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Unsplash